Written by William Lee
What would Carmelo Anthony do for an encore, after his historic 62 points performance in Madison Square Garden Friday night?
Carmelo Anthony followed it up with 35 points, in a 110-103 New York victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. This was the first matinée day game victory for New York all season long, as the Knicks were 0-5 prior to Sunday’s victory.
Anthony immediately scored on the Knicks’ first possession, scoring seven points in three minutes, enticing Knicks’ fans to hope for another epic performance. Though he would be relatively slowed compared to Friday night, by scoring only ten points in the first quarter. Anthony looked to be forcing the issue for another great game at the end of the first quarter, missing an ill-advised three on the fast break. Then turning the ball over while trying to drive to the rim leading to break away windmill dunk by Wesley Johnson, and then he just dribbled out the clock trying to make a move to the rim not aware that the clock was about to expire.
It was a tightly contested game throughout, with neither team being able to take a double digit lead. With the Knicks up 99-97 in a little less than five minutes remaining in the game, Anthony went to work, going on a personal 6-1 run to give New York a 105-98 lead with 2:33 left in the game. Anthony scored on a couple of layups and a jump shot, he got to the rim with ease Sunday, getting by any defenders the Lakers threw at him. Raymond Felton would knock down a jumper to increase the lead to 107-99 with 1:31 left in the game. Felton played extremely well, also getting into the paint with ease, connecting on a few floaters in the lane, scoring 20 points and collecting five assists on Sunday’s matinée game.
Pau Gasol had 20 points 13 rebounds and 4 assists, and Los Angeles went to him late in crunch time. Gasol would score with 1:23 remaining to keep the Lakers in the game 107-101. Lakers would get the stop they needed, and they would try to get the ball to Gasol again, the Knicks wisely doubled teamed him immediately, forcing Gasol to kick the ball out to Kendall Marshall, who missed a three that could have made it a one possession game. With 44.7 seconds left in the game, the Lakers looked to make a defensive stop instead of fouling to stop the clock, watching J.R. Smith dribble it out, but Nick Young foolishly fouled Smith on his initial move to the rim, effectively ending the game for the Lakers. Smith was also a key contributor to the win with 16 points 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Carmelo Anthony had plenty of help in Sunday’s matinée victory, with four other Knicks’ in double digit scoring, on top of his 35 point encore performance. As great as the victory was, and a momentum builder, it should be noted that the Lakers give up the second most points to opponents in the league at 106.1, so it was definitely a game the Knicks should have won, if they are to make the playoffs. Something interesting to note going forward, is that Mike Woodson elected to go with Cole Aldrich as the first big to come off the bench, even though Jeremy Tyler showed potential in the previous games. Another coaching tactical issue is the fact that Jodie Meeks was allowed to go 6/8 from beyond the arc. Meeks is a three point specialist, with half of his field goal attempts being threes, New York should have ran him off the three point line, and force him to put the ball on the floor.